Ask, Listen, and Save a Life

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness   (c)2017 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

Imagine for a moment, you are in a pitch-black room.  People you believe to be in the same room are speaking in your direction. However, you cannot understand what they mean; some of the language is foreign, and then there’s the gibberish.

They say, “We love all this sunshine! Isn’t this wonderful?”

You incredulously mention the room’s darkness. “Do you understand where we are?”  

You hear, “It’s bright, you are just refusing to see it.”

True story

The doctor’s blurred face hovered above mine.

Click. Click.

My vision was doubling at a fast pace. Due with my first baby in two months,  I wondered what this ophthalmologist could add to the various diagnoses and advice I had already received.

Click. Click.

He stepped back. In a brusk, commanding voice he said, “Nothing wrong.”

Surprised, I realized this was the first doctor to deny the problem. Birth control pills, a need for prism glasses, and even stress had been blamed for the worsening double vision I first reported five years earlier. But not this. Not “nothing wrong.”

“Everything in this office is double,” I said. “The machines, your face…”

“You just imagine.” His broken English was angry. He glared at me. I was intimidated, and afraid to say more.

“But it’s worse than a month ago…”

“It not worse. You just notice now.” He was raising his voice. You leave, come back see me in six weeks.”

His confusing words drove me to seek yet another opinion. Two months later, newborn in tow, a neurologist announced the news.

“You have a giant aneurism growing behind your left eye. Let’s do surgery today.”

Saving a life starts with listening

It is frustrating when one’s feelings and experiences are invalidated. Whether by a misogynist doctor or a good friend, it is not fun being ignored. In the world of mental healthcare, dismissal is dangerous.

If a person is showing signs of depression, and perhaps you have picked up on some dark thoughts, do not walk away. I know it is hard to face the idea that a loved one is suicidal. I know it is awkward and potentially embarrassing to bring it up. I know it is scary to think of frustrating that person even more. But do not walk away. 

A simple question can cost us emotional energy. It does not have to. Ask your loved one non-judgementally, “Are you thinking of hurting yourself? Are you considering suicide?” By doing so you allow them to feel accepted, safe, and loved. You show you care enough to be involved. In this world, that is rare. 

Be special. Be the one who listens. Save a life.

Today’s Helpful Word

1 John 3:18

Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; 

let us show the truth by our actions.

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Comments are always welcome (see tab below).  NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help can be yours.

Feeling Better Feels Better – 2 Mantras to Help You Find Joy

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness   (c)2017 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

Driving up to a CVS drive-thru, a thought that has been on my mind lately paid another visit. 

You see, a few years ago I used the term “assuage” (meaning to lessen an intense feeling) in an email to my therapist.  The reply included, “I never knew that word until I helped my daughter with her spelling list last night. One of the words is assuage. HaHaHa. It’s in the small stuff!”

It’s in the small stuff. Joy.  Amusement at life’s little quirks.  Relief from negativity. Hope.

My aunt, who has been a huge inspiration since my childhood, once talked about finding beauty spots wherever she travelled. Lovingly cared-for flower gardens in a front yard, a wild daffodil on the side of a freeway, a pretty city square – these are all types of things we may not notice every day. 

Inspiration in motion

When I first moved from  country to city life thirty years ago,  the idea could not have been less appealing. Why, cities are ugly with cement and wires, very little grass, few trees, and more cement!  These were my thoughts concerning Cleveland; I needed to find beauty in my new town.

The first house was old with prism windows. Rainbows splattered across the furniture and floors every day. Later, the home I am still in,  has woods out back. Deer come regularly to munch and sun themselves,  birds sing,  and even a family of ducks once waddled down our sidewalk.

At CVS this morning, I noticed the bright yellow of the poles protecting the building from careless drivers. It brought a small smile to my face because that shade of yellow is my favorite color. Talk about small stuff! That made me laugh, too. 

It takes practice, but anyone can start today. Start noticing.  Start appreciating.

Two mantras to keep in mind

  1. It’s in the small stuff
  2. Look for spots of beauty.

Discovery is a fun game to play whether alone, car-pooling, playing with children, or at work. What is beautiful in your life today? 

Today’s Helpful Word

Psalm 106:1, 2

 Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. Who can proclaim the mighty acts of the Lord or fully declare his praise?

 

 

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Comments are always welcome (see tab below).  NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help can be yours.

  • log pic by kozzi.com tree pic by RWLINDER on rgbstock.com

How GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder) Can Lead to Wholeness

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness   (c)2017 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

Anxiety Disorders are not what many people without them think they are. They are not nervousness like before an exam. They are not even exaggerated nervousness before an exam. Anxiety Disorders are not a choice to be fearful and overcome by worry.

While I can pray and sense a grounding and safety in that, God has not chosen to remove disordered anxiety from me. What I mean is that it is a battle harder some days to overcome than others.

I think I know why.

God wants me whole. Yep, that’s right, God is allowing an anxiety disorder to make life more challenging because his goal is for me to know total wholeness.

Several months ago, overwhelming disordered anxiety forced me to speak for the first time about a lifelong issue I’d determined to take to my grave. Over years of therapy and despite great talk about the changing of my worldview and new start, I’d held this particular door shut.

It was probably easy for some people to judge me for having anxiety. But God knows what he is doing In his time, and in his way, he is using this to show me there is more to be healed.

Emotions teach us if we will listen.  Ignoring them often hurts us physically as well.

Anxiety surrounding the above scenario led to a GI bleed that led to hospitalization which led to swelling which led to a torn tendon which has kept me more or less wheelchair bound for the last three months.  Surgery is around the corner. Maybe all that could have been avoided if I had listened to anxiety and talked out this secret years ago. God gave me enough chances, that’s for sure. 

This process has drawn me closer to God and opened my eyes to important truths.  Always The Fight Ministries and other aspects of life have changed for the better. My soul and mind enjoy greater rest because I was forced to deal with an anxiety disorder.

Please remember, it is not helpful to tell someone with an anxiety disorder to shake it off, or quit being a worry wart. That is because anxiety disorders are not normal anxiety (hence the name “disorder”). They are complex.

Perhaps the better option is to offer a listening ear. 

Today’s Helpful Word

Psalm 25:4-5

Show me the right path, O Lord point out the road for me to follow. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you.

 

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Comments are always welcome (see tab below).  NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help can be yours.

  • pics by Kozzi.com

What It is Like to Feel Prepared for Disaster

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness   (c)2017 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

My son walked into the living room and I jumped. Nevermind I knew he was due home. Nevermind I heard the door open and close when he arrived. What mattered was his steps were quiet. He went from unseen to seen in an instant, without precise warning.

That is one way PTSD affects my daily life.  Jumpy.  No matter how much I mentally prepare for certain predictables, they manage to unnerve me. I breathe in sharply, shriek a little, and jump.  Clarity is immediate as I observe my surroundings.  Adrenaline turns into controlled anger.  PTSD has rescued me from attack because of that anger reflex. It has helped me protect others as well.  

With my sons, it is not true anger.  Usually they hear something like, “Oh you sneaker!” while my heart calms and breathing returns to normal. We laugh, and on the day goes as if it is normal to shriek in fear when a loved one shows up.

Prepare and observe

It is normal to feel anger after trauma and senseless violence.  We see that happening around us with people casting blame and looking to “fixes” such as classifying whole groups of people as dangerous.  Jimmy Kimmel did that this week when he assumed the shooter in Las Vegas must have been mentally ill.

The Las Vegas shooting is a big deal.  In the US, hurricanes, massive wildfires, a flu epidemic, and other issues have us all a little jumpy. One article written by a determined soul stated he would not stop going to concerts because he refused to live in fear.  What of you and me? Will we stop living?

That depends on how we observe our surroundings.  If we begin to perceive potential crisis in every corner, we will likely remain angry.  If we fixate on “solutions,”  blame will result. How about we focus on preparedness? 

Practical ideas can be wise, such as a man in the Tampa area who invested in hurricane-proof windows.  However,  to keep level heads, something unshakeable must be our foundation. To feel secure, we need to rely on the unchangeable.

There are no catastrophes

A psychologist who follows Jesus Christ touts this philosophy, “There are no catastrophes.” In light of the obvious – he meets with traumatized people every day – this idea may seem off-kilter. He explains that in the face of grave loss, we can know we will be ok. This is not because we get to bypass sorrow, but because we can be unafraid of death. He said he is certain where he is going after this life. He knows in whom he trusts.

“In God we trust.”  Whether you think that phrase belongs on a coin or not, for millions of us, it is reality.  A lifetime of trials has grown my faith.  I have seen God’s power and faithfulness in my surroundings.  Of all the therapeutic strategies that help, knowing Jesus as Savior and obeying him as Lord is my overarching banner of peaceful assurance. 

As stated, my head is not in the clouds untouched by pain or anxiety. It is simple – I know God holds me know matter what.  Offering hope and insights to those fighting mental illness, addiction, or abuse is a joy as long as God has me here.  At the same time, I look forward to being with him for eternity. It’s a win-win.

And that feels good.  

Today’s Helpful Word

Hebrews 6:18, 19

“Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls.”

 

 

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Comments are always welcome (see tab below).  NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help can be yours.

  • anchor pic by TACLUDA on rgbstock.com; sky pic from kozzi.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are You Faking Mental Health?

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness   (c)2017 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

Violet questions her value.

Tom yells and cusses at other drivers.

James is brutal with self-criticism.  

Makia apologizes frequently. 

Shannon avoids important social events.

Do you have a similar experience?

What mental health looks like

We think we know what mental illness is (whether we do or not). Do we understand mental health? According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, “mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices.” 

How do you think you score in those departments?  For Violet, Tom, James, Makia, and Shannon, well-being in the following areas may be goals. 

Well-being is believing in your worth.

Well-being is calm and patient toward others.  

Well-being is accepting your imperfect humanness.

Well-being does not apologize for existing

Well-being is the ability  to function and participate in life. 

It pays to check

Are you at premium mental health?  

Mental illness is diagnosed with ongoing symptoms that interfere with one’s ability to function. The person with a mental illness suffers frequent stress due to those symptoms.

Nevertheless, how often do we bother to assess our mental health? This requires some introspection and a desire to achieve well-being.  I believe mental health is akin to contentment. It does not make sense to skip over that.

Today’s Helpful Word

Psalm 33: 13-15

The Lord looks down from heaven and sees the whole human race.  From his throne he observes all who live on the earth. He made their hearts, so he understands everything they do.

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Comments are always welcome (see tab below).  NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help can be yours.

-pictures from qualitystockphotos

From Emotional Rags to Riches

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness  (c)2017 Nancy Virden

I was spoiled. Living in the western suburbs of Philadelphia for six years, certain comforts like full-serve gas stations, free valet parking at doctors’ offices, and grocery home delivery are privileges which trickled down to average folks, and I took advantage. Now Cleveland is home again, where none of these are available. Poor me (back of hand to forehead with a pout).  I have to pump gasoline, park my car, and carry groceries like most Americans.

Sigh.

Pity party over, truth is, even when change is simple and positive, it is at least a tad stressful. A major move, death of a loved one, leaving home to go to school, getting married… these are heavy challenges. Changing a worldview and lifelong core beliefs is grueling.

Believe the best

Switching out a negative and hopeless mindset to one of embracing life involves daily courage. Due to abuse, neglect, and myriad reasons, some people question their worth from childhood forward.  False messages collected from what was heard and seen in a family of origin need to be compared to real evidence. We must confront our ignorance and denial. Beliefs can hold us hostage; beliefs can change.

A therapist said, “…please believe the best of yourself too. If there is another reasonable explanation, take that one, and don’t beat yourself up.” She was referring to a tendency toward guilt and shame when one’s core belief is “I am always wrong.”  No one is always wrong. Looking for another reasonable explanation is wise. Taking it in is admirable. Changing one’s view of self is brave.

I am not heroic by shopping for groceries and filling my car’s tank. However, working hard to garner a wealth of insight and newfound understanding is my emotional rags to riches story. With God’s help, patient professional care, and a teachable spirit, my life has turned a full 180 degrees.  

Beliefs can change, and so can you.

girl lookingToday’s Helpful Word

Philippians 4:8

 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

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NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help can be yours.

-1st picture from Qualitystockphotos.com; 2nd pic from rgbstock.com

 

 

Lesson From Under a Rock: No Shame in Feelin’ the Music

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c) 2017 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

Somehow, I am sure the lead singer of Maroon Five was not expecting to change someone’s life that day.  

The foundation

My life was spent believing it is wrong to have or express emotions, especially strong ones. That does not mean I never showed them, but simply much less often than I felt them. Guilt and shame for letting people see this weakness – having emotions – was constant.

Smiling at a stranger or telling a friend I care felt awkward and out-of-place. Helpful gestures, done in genuine compassion, laid me out afterward with self-doubt.  Was it appropriate to show empathy?  Anger and hurt were reasons to beat myself up for days, weeks, and years for having dared. 

Life experience helped me learn some social “rules,” and Christ Jesus changed my scarred heart to a compassionate one. Still,  showing emotion was shaky ground. 

The fallout

One hides from life when emotions are thought bad and shameful.  Even emotive vocabulary escaped my attention.  What was obvious to others, I often missed.

 After a mass shooting, reporters announced that counselors had arrived on the scene. Shocked, I thought, why would anyone need that? How can it be ok to say such a thing in public? Those survivors must be humiliated.

Eventually, pent-up emotions landed me in the hospital for major depression.

Enter Adam Levine

Coaches on the TV singing contest, “The Voice,” taught performers to use what I thought was  a voice inflection skill.  What else could they mean by instructing contestants to inject emotion into their vocals?

One day, I heard Adam Levine say emotions are why people make and listen to music.  I stared in wonder. People want to feel? He just said that aloud?

Therapists had been slowly unveiling emotions to me and my right to express them for about two years.  The Levine epiphany made me simultaneously excited and embarrassed. The world appreciates music for the feelings it generates and no one is ashamed of it. Had I been living under a rock?

Crawling out

At first, checking for emotions in any given moment seemed childish.  Noticing a stiff back, racing heart, shaking, and other physical red flags, I learned to ask what was going on emotionally.  Naming anger, fear, disappointment, or any feeling as the cause, allowed me to question why.

Aware now of what most emotions are trying to tell me,  facing situations instead of running away brings healing.  Resolutions  replace resignation.  Acceptance abolishes avoidance.  Expression erases exile.  

Emotions are welcome although not always pleasant visitors.  Temptation to hide is stronger than I at times.  Mental muscles stretch when I take feelings to God and to supportive friends. Having barely crawled out from under that rock with my life, it is good to know there is more on the outside. 

If you can relate, there is hope for joy.  God’s love is eternal and unconditional. Given time and wise support, it is possible to learn how to love yourself, emotions and all.

 Today’s Helpful Word

Psalm 43:5

“Why am I so sad?  Why am I so troubled?  I will put my hope in God,  and once again I will praise him,  my savior and my God.”

 

***COMMENTS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME.

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help is yours.

 

Fight Self-Destructive Bitterness: Know What’s to Love About Mercy

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c) 2017 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

An ex remarries.  An adult child refuses to visit.  Friends withdraw when you struggle with a chronic illness.  Someone hurts your body.  You are treated like a nobody at work.  No one believes your story.  On and on the possibilities for bitterness go. 

“Love mercy” is one of the tenets of right living mentioned in the Bible.  Sure, it feels good to forgive someone and to move on, but love mercy? I would rather love being the better person in a situation.  Although it is easy to see how much mercy people and God have extended to me,  somehow  humility is not the automatic go-to in the face of maltreatment or perceived betrayal.  

Love mercy? When I love something or someone,  that emotion is noticed in the moment.  I don’t have to conjure up good feelings later.  I pursue what I love, search for it, and am happiest when the object of that love is near.  

Mercy Heals Us Emotionally

I need more to go on than mercy is a good idea.  The following is a list of mercy’s characteristics I admire and can choose to proactively love with all my heart.

  1. It is beautiful watching other people succeed. Whether a child matures or a thief turns generous, we like happy endings. We cheer on fighters who overcome. Extending mercy is a powerful way to affect someone for the better.  Watching that is cool.
  2. Mercy brings healthy humility, which in turn heals the merciful person.  It exchanges the need for revenge and becomes gratitude. Humility recognizes that imperfections make us all human. I may not like the way someone treats me, but humility asks, have I treated anyone this way?  Mercy’s attitude is pleasant to feel. 
  3. Mercy is a picture of God in the world. Soulless and evil are terms we use to describe those who take advantage of others without a conscience. Mercy is proof that evil does not rule the earth. We are not helpless when we choose mercy.  Mercy is uniquely capable of overcoming evil.   

Love mercy? More I think about it, the more attractive it becomes.  Its loveliness is worth pursuing. If I want to see it in action, it will have to come from me. 

Today’s Helpful Word

Micah 6:8

No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.

*********COMMENTS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME.

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help is yours.

Unconditional Love: The Forgotten Source of Hope

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c) 2017 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

Among people who struggle with emotional instability, mental illness, addiction, or abuse I have observed a common thread shared with all of humanity. It is both universal and intimate, a want and need.

I have, as so many others, desperately tried to find it or escape from its absence in relationships, substances, entertainment, physical pleasure, and even rumination on the value of my life.  

The longing that shapes almost every human decision is for unconditional love. 

At the crux of all the world’s troubles

Pride and corruption in high places are about power and greed. Yet what is power without adoring followers? What is there to riches except to say, “Look at what I have!”

The poor and marginalized cry out for justice; their cause, righteous.  Nonetheless, the plea behind it all is for unconditional love – acceptance as equals in society. 

In homes and on playgrounds, one can see the push-pull for unconditional love. Each of us seeks it,  few offer it.  Our best attempts at giving love without strings fall short. 

Some of us believe a lie – that the world’s inability to love us well means we are unlovable. We become grateful for whatever crumbs fall our way, even if they are served with abuse and more lies.

With eyes focused on a guilty or shameful past, some of us feel unworthy of great love. 

It is time to accept your true identity

God’s love transcends pity. His mercy is not because you are a nothing and only by rolling his eyes and shaking his head can he love you.

No, he knew beforehand everything you have become,  including what has happened to you and how it shaped your beliefs.  He saw your blunders, the pain you would cause other people, and how much sorrow he would suffer due to your unbelief and sin. He knew the details of your weaknesses and failings before he gave you life… and made you anyway.

Why? He loved you before you were born; his plans for you are not shaken. His ultimate goal has always been to spend eternity with you because he loves and wants to be with you that much.

Yours for the taking

Sometimes we tend to think “love hurts, and is not worth the pain.” It is the opposite with God’s unconditional love. He saw ahead of time that you would not love him perfectly, and brought you into the world anyway. All the pain IS worth it to him. YOU are worth it.

As absence of unconditional love can trap us in impotent cycles, so its unfailing presence sets us free. We can strip off the disguises, and come to him as-is. This source of perfect grace and mercy, justice and forgiveness, strength to save and power to love is the ever-present, all-knowing highest power,  the God of the BIble as revealed to us in the life, death, and resurrection of his only birth-Son, Jesus Christ. 

You are loved.

Today’s Helpful Word

Psalm 33: 20-22 

We put our hope in the Lord He is our help and our shield.  In him our hearts rejoice,  for we trust in his holy name.  Let your unfailing love surround us, Lordfor our hope is in you alone.

 

*********COMMENTS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME.

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help is yours.

Anxiety Rises With World News

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c) 2017 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

Natural disasters have a way of raising anxiety levels.  There is good reason for that because we want safety and normalcy, and we mourn when people are hurt.  Hurricanes, earthquakes, and wildfires are unpredictable too. Generally, we do not enjoy  uncertainty when so much is at stake.

A son inherits a business

Many years ago, a dad died. Suddenly, his young son had to take over the family business and responsibilities. He was feeling scared and inadequate, so he said to God, “I can’t do it without you.”

He was successful for ten years before a powerful and influential enemy tried to take over the business and steal everything the son owned. Again the young man said, “God, I can’t do this without you,” and the severe opposition soon ceased.

For twenty years, everything continued well.  A second conniving competitor emerged, attempting to force a merger between his and the son’s businesses. Commerce and security were threatened.

This time the son panicked and turned to a third competitor for help. “I can’t do this without you.,” he said.  By partnering with a less threatening enemy, he gave up his freedom.  Their scheme worked, only now he was bound to someone who wanted to fight him for everything.

A wise man of God came to him and said, “You did it now! You lost your chance to be clear of this kind of trouble. From now on you will struggle to keep everything you have!”

Frustrated, the son used his influence to cause the wise man of God to lose his job. His attitude soured under pressure from the combative business arrangement.  He became mean and merciless toward people who depended on him.

Eventually, a potentially fatal disease scared him. He said to his doctors, “I can’t do this without you!” Soon after, he died.

Who was this man?

This man’s name was Asa. Ruling ancient Judah was the family business.  Asa and his dad were royals, serving as kings. The last six of forty-one years in charge of the nation were nothing but conflict.

Competitors and enemies were other kings trying to conquer his land and people. When Asa humbly remembered that he was but a human, and trusted in God’s power, Judah flourished.  Both he and his people paid a great price for his proud self-reliance.

Anxiety is normal in the face of recent disasters and rumors of war.  It is impossible to control external events or other people.  Choosing to depend on the Highest Power takes a load off our backs and minds.

I know the future is uncertain and feel anxiety rising. How much anxiety interferes with my functioning and peace is determined each day I choose to confess as Asa once did, “God, I can’t do this without you.”

And mean it.

Today’s Helpful Word

Ephesians 3 (NCV)

With God’s power working in us, God can do much, much more than anything we can ask or imagine. To him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus for all time, forever and ever. Amen.

*********COMMENTS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME.

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help is yours.